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Jeff Krulik is cutting a deep trench around the sofa in his apartment. The reason for his nervous marching is that he didn’t take his own advice. Six years ago, a Krulik-produced program, the “Don’t Quit Your Day Job Film and Video Festival,” screened at the American Film Institute. Saturday, AFI will again feature a Krulik event, this time titled the “I Quit My Day Job Film and Video Festival.” Yes, Krulik walked away from a cushy job at the thriving Discovery Channel. And he did it for art, to devote himself to various projects that were “literally gathering dust” while he was stuck in the 9-to-5 rut.
“I’ve embarked on a loosely defined career in television development,” says the perpetually caffeinated promoter. “It’s just this mind-numbing odyssey.”
Krulik, co-producer of the hysterically disturbing Heavy Metal Parking Lot, says this screening is “a chance for me to have an audience for what my friends used to call ‘Jeff’s People.’” He defines these folk as “talented people who weren’t necessarily considered talented but that I always wanted to work with.”
But this time, he is also working with a legitimate celebrity. Krulik learned that Oscar-winner and McHale’s Navy star Ernest Borgnine was spending his semiretirement driving around the country in a 40-foot luxury bus. “We thought, ‘What a hysterical image: Ernest Borgnine driving a bus, just showing up in random, unlikely places behind the wheel of a bus.’ And it just seemed like the perfect image that would lend itself well to television.” He gathered a crew and hitched a ride. The result is Ernest Borgnine on Tour, a work-in-progress intended as a TV series.
“If he was a passenger, it wouldn’t have happened. No interest. None. The fact that he drives this thing is the whole reason to do it,” Krulik explains.
Another bit of video vérité that Krulik is dusting off is Mr. Blassie Goes to Washington, starring former wrestling champion and self-crowned “King of Men,” Fred Blassie. “We thought, ‘What would happen if the King of Men came to D.C.?’ And we essentially just turned him loose,” he says. What he found, among other things, is “a lot fewer people know who Blassie is than Borgnine.”
“Hopefully, the work will either speak for itself or…destroy our reputation,” says Krulik, adding with a sigh, “At the very least, I have my excellent adventure with Ernest Borgnine.”CP